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Mainstreaming Millets. Policy Brief 3. : Increasing the Consumption of Millets: Need of the Hour

Author: WFP, India & Odisha Millet Mission
Despite being a staple food in semi-arid tropics and drought-prone regions in India, millets consumption is low as people perceive it as traditional, coarse and of low aspirational value. Investment through increased awareness, availability of quality products that appeal to people’s taste, acceptance of millets as climate smart nutritious diet will not only enhance dietary diversity but also will put pressure on improving supply.

Millets are traditionally and culturally accepted staple food that require very low input costs. Are easily grown in water stress areas and period of maturation is comparatively lower. They are highly nutritious and provide food security, making them an ideal crop of the 21st Century, especially in view of changing climate increasing population stress. Focus on consumption of millets by the Government and other stakeholder will put pressure on supply and production of quality millets. Increased consumption of millets in urban and rural markets to shift the perception of millets from ‘poor man’s food’ to ‘a healthy alternative’ and as part of dietary diversification will help improved access to sustainable food and nutrition security. To achieve this, it is recommended to use large scale awareness campaign to expand the market for millets. This includes appropriate awareness campaigns targeting different segments, especially through social and digital media channels, as these are the major sources of information on health and food among youngsters. It would also be important to promote recipes that are palatable and healthy, products that are modern and convenient, into markets that are more easily accessible.